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Lifting the train

Rail Museum to Preserve Rare Locomotive From TVA

A rare Fairbanks-Morse locomotive has a new home at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, Tenn., courtesy of TVA. Built in 1958, the locomotive is one of the few surviving engines of its type.

“This locomotive holds a unique place in history for TVA and the region, and we’re excited that it will be well-preserved in its new home,” said TVA Supply Chain Vice President Laura Campbell.

TVA used the Fairbanks locomotive to carry coal to its Gallatin Fossil Plant until it was retired in 1997 – when coal shipments shifted from train to barge delivery.

In 2019, TVA started to look at opportunities to preserve this piece of history.  

“I’m happy this train now has a second life,” said Travis Patterson, Gallatin Fossil Plant Manager. “It has an incredible story, and I hope it will power a new generation’s imagination at the museum.”

TVA used cranes to lift the partially disassembled Fairbanks-Morse onto a specifically-equipped truck to travel to Chattanooga.

“The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is honored that TVA would place this locomotive in our collection for future display and possible operation,” said Museum President Tim Andrews. “Our mission is to educate the public on the role of railroads in developing the Tennessee Valley region, and what better example than this locomotive to showcase the intertwined efforts of the railroads and the supply of electricity by TVA in powering our economy.”

The locomotive will be on display in Chattanooga as one of the only nine Fairbanks-Morse locomotives left today – just in time for the Museum’s 60th Anniversary celebration beginning in October.  

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